val·​e·​dic·​to·​ri·​an | \ˌva-lə-ˌdik-ˈtȯr-ē-ən \

Definition of valedictorian 

: the student usually having the highest rank in a graduating class who delivers the valedictory address at the commencement exercises

Examples of valedictorian in a Sentence

She was the valedictorian of her class in 1985.

Recent Examples on the Web

The libertarian Cato Institute has issued its 2018 fiscal report card and this year’s valedictorian is New Mexico’s Gov. Susana Martinez, who is wrapping up her eight-year tenure as a taxpayer champion. James Freeman, WSJ, "Hey, Little Spenders," 9 Oct. 2018 Basis also refuses to rank students, which means no class valedictorians. CBS News, "Inside Basis, the acclaimed school network behind the country's leading high schools," 2 June 2018 John Cusack stars as Lloyd Dobler, an slacker/aspiring kickboxer in love with Ione Skye’s Diane Court, the class valedictorian. Amanda Mitchell, Marie Claire, "40 Classic Movies You Should See If You Love Rom-Coms," 2 Feb. 2017 This year's valedictorian also set a new all-time record. Car and Driver, "Lightning Lap 2018: Where the Track Tells the Truth," 26 Sep. 2018 The ceremony included performances by the school band and chorus, speeches by administrators and class officers, and speeches by salutatorian Amy Akerley and valedictorian Suzanne Pranger. Melanie Savage, Courant Community, "Coventry High School Graduates 118," 3 July 2018 Lovett said he was never asked to give a graduation speech, though past valedictorians had gotten to, according to the newspaper. Rebecca Bratek, CBS News, "Principal refuses to allow first black valedictorian to give speech, so Rochester mayor intervenes," 4 July 2018 Smith noted even some valedictorians can fail to get TOPS because their ACT score is too low. Wilborn P. Nobles Iii,, "Bill opening TOPS to students with lower ACT scores passes House committee," 3 May 2018 Garmon was the 1970 Emmett High valedictorian who died of cancer in 2005 at age 53, after having sparked Crapo's interest in RECA. Dan Popkey, idahostatesman, "'I promised ... that I wouldn't give up.' Documentary shows downwinders' plight," 9 Aug. 2013

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'valedictorian.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of valedictorian

1759, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for valedictorian

valedictor(y) + -ian

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Last Updated

7 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for valedictorian

The first known use of valedictorian was in 1759

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English Language Learners Definition of valedictorian

: the student who has the highest grades in a graduating class and who gives a speech at graduation ceremonies


val·​e·​dic·​to·​ri·​an | \ˌva-lə-ˌdik-ˈtȯr-ē-ən \

Kids Definition of valedictorian

: a student usually of the highest standing in a class who gives the farewell speech at the graduation ceremonies

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Spanish Central: Translation of valedictorian

Nglish: Translation of valedictorian for Spanish Speakers

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a knickknack or trinket

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